A Foodie’s Guide to the Different Types of Almonds

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Did you know, there are 12 different common types of almonds!?

Whether they’re a stocking stuffer or a salty snack right before lunch, almonds are one of the world’s most beloved treats. Their high nutrient count is just icing on the came too. As a foodie, we’re sure that you know that their versatility in foods is close to endless.

You can toast them, slice them, crush them, or eat them whole.

So, what are the different types of almonds you can choose from for your cooking?

The Californian Paper Shell

The Californian Paper Shell is unique because it has a thin, papery outer shell around the nut itself. This alone is unique, as most almonds have a thick, barky shell surrounding the edible portion.

This almond is one of the most frequently planted varieties of almonds because it’s easy to process and for its rich, quintessentially almondy flavor. If you’ve eaten an almond from the supermarket before, you were likely eating a Californian Paper Shell.

The Shalimar Almond

The Shalimar Almond is grown mid-season and is encased by a more stereotypically hard and barky husk.

While this almond is good to eat, it’s perhaps more famous for its color. If you see the color “almond” in any capacity, artists likely pulled that tone from the Shalimar Almond’s uniquely rich, dark brown shell.

The Nonpareil Almond

The shell of a Nonpareil Almond is thin and easily removed after blanching. That means that, like the Californian Papershell, the Nonpareil almond is extremely popular for mass production.

While the Nonpareil doesn’t taste as strongly as the Californian, it does produce a colossal nut early in the season. So, most stores will likely be selling Nonpareil almonds early in spring.

The Pranyaj Almond

The Pranyaj produces a relatively flat and unremarkable nut with a thinner shell and an extremely dark tone. This dark tone is the best way to tell a Pranyaj apart from a Californian in an unprocessed form.

This type of almond is used frequently in almond milk and flours. While other almond varieties can be used, the Pranyaj is preferred.

The Mukhdoom Almond

These almonds are relatively plump, so they’re perfect for slicing and toasting. They have a softer shell that’s a light tan in color.

Mukhdoom’s mature fairly lat in the season, though, so use a Nonpareil until your Mukhdoom’s have finished maturing. Then you can process and preserve them to use on cakes and biscotti later in the winter.

The Drake Almond

The Drake is a chameleon in the almond world. It can be big or small, it matures at a gradual pace mid-season, and it can be a light or a dark color.

The Drake is a specialist of many and a master of none. So, if this almond might be great if you’re looking for variety. The only downside to the Drake almond is its unpredictability. You never know what you’re going to get.

The Neplus Almond

These are the Ne Plus Ultra (the ultimate version) of almonds, or at least they were to the person who gave them their name. Though these almonds aren’t necessarily remarkable for their taste, they can grow longer and slightly more wrinkly than any other almond varieties.

So, Neplus almonds make great candidates for candying, salting, and other whole almond preparation methods.

The Waris Almond

You might as well call these the “Walrus” almond because they have the largest midsection of any almond. Their shape forms more of a 3D teardrop than a 2D one like a Neplus might. Still, the Waris remains a modest overall size.

So, this almond is ideal for slicing simply because it’s easier to get a knife through without getting dangerously close to your fingers.

The Primorskij Almond

The Primorskij is a variety that hails from Kashmir in India. Out of all the almond types, the Primorskij boasts the heaviest weight.

Due to all of the extra meat on this nut, you can do more with less. That means that this almond is also great for making flour and milk. (In addition to eating that is.)

The Sonora Almond

Sonora almonds are known for a long shape and flat surface, making them undesirable for candying and salting. Instead, Sonora’s are valued higher when they’re left in their papery shell. You will most commonly find Sonoras in your stockings at Christmas.

For more information on Sonora’s, head here.

The Fritz Almond

The Fritz is on the fritz. This almond is also valued highly among agricultural producers due to its heavy yield and fast production. Out of all almond varieties, the Fritz produces the earliest in the year. Other than this early yield, the Frtiz is an unremarkable, medium size.

So, it’s also very likely that if you buy pre-packaged almonds from the store, they will be Fritzes.

The Ruby Almond

Like all precious gems, the ruby takes its time forming correctly more than the other different types of almonds do. This almond matures late in the season, and yields aren’t high. A late harvest paired with a smaller nut size makes this almond more of a boutique find.

If you’re cooking with almonds, we recommend a more abundant variety. If you want a nut to snack on, a delicious pack of Ruby’s will be for you.

The Ruby almond’s other defining features are its semi-hard shell.

Which of the Different Types of Almonds Is Right for You?

Chances are, at your local food store, you won’t have access to every almond on this list, but that’s okay. You’re a foodie! That means you can look for almond trees and online specialty stores that will supply you with the exact kind of nut you need.

We hope that this brief guide has helped you decide which nut to use for your next Thanksgiving dinner or sweet breakfast snack.

Want to learn more about different foods? Find more articles like this “types of almonds” article on the rest of our website.

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